Cross also told council public concerns about the issue should be addressed “within the context of the final decision-making process.”

Based on accounts she’s read about other communities’ experiences, Eichenwald said private companies have found ways to add on to water rates. “It is so difficult to protect us.”

The mayor said more than 1,300 municipalities have such public/private partnerships.

Pawlowski said the proposed lease agreement ensures Allentown will have even better quality water, with standards that meet or exceed the city’s current requirements. He said he doesn’t want to put his own children, or the children of any other families living in the city, in jeopardy.